Recently, I was asked to provide consultation services for a couple who wanted to throw a Game Of Thrones Halloween Party this year. Information or details about the party are confidential, but I was reassured that I can share some of the ideas and inspiration that helped to get us started.
I know there are only a couple of weeks to go before Halloween, so this post may have come a little too late for those of you who were looking for some tips on the subject. I suppose it should go without saying that a thematic event – such as a Game Of Thrones Halloween Party – necessitates elaborate preparations (that usually take months) for it to be successful and spectacular. So please accept my apologies for publishing this post rather late in the season.
I still hope that you will find the tips in this post useful for next year’s Halloween celebration, or for any time you decide to throw a GoT-inspired party, even if it has nothing to do with Halloween.
Game Of Thrones Halloween Party
Set in the fictional Seven Kingdoms of Westeros, Game Of Thrones is a story that revolves around several noble families with several different characters whose lives intertwine. Trying to incorporate all of these unique settings and personalities into your party might be just a bit over the top. In order for all the elements of a themed party of this grandeur to form one coherent structure, I would recommend choosing just one house or one specific scenery from the story to be your basis for booking and decorating your venue.
Here are a few inspirations/ideas:
1. King’s Landing: Throne Room
If you prefer to model the throne room at King’s Landing, a real castle events venue would be perfect. However, real castles that are open to the public for booking events are hard to find. So, the next best choice would be a hotel ballroom.
King’s Landing is the site of the Iron Throne, so it goes without saying that you should have a replica of the Iron Throne at your party.
TRIVIA: In the story, the first king of the Seven Kingdoms, Aegon I Targaryen, constructed the Iron Throne from the swords of all the enemies he defeated in battle. It is supposed to have taken a thousand blades heated and hammered out to construct this throne. The hammering alone took 59 days. The spikes and jagged edges make this an obviously intimidating and uncomfortable throne, but according to story, Aegon intentionally made it this way, saying that “a king should never sit easy”.
If you have a big budget for your party, you can purchase a life size replica of the Iron Throne available online at the HBO Store for a whopping (wait for it…) $30,000!!! (You all right? You passed out.)
The HBO life size Iron Throne replica is made of hand-finished, hand-painted fiberglass and fire-proof resin, and measures over 7′ in height, close to 6′ in depth and 5.5′ in width, and weighs 350 lbs.
I read somewhere in the comments section of the HBO page for this item that one guy actually bought six (yes, SIX) replicas of the “throne” for his dining set at home! If you’re friends with that guy, perhaps you can just try to borrow one of his for your party.
If you have neither the budget nor the guy-with-the-six-Iron-Throne in your contacts list, then you can try building your own Iron Throne by following these step-by step D.I.Y. instructions.
2. House Stark
Now, take a look at the image below… see the wall and the door behind Eddard and Catelyn Stark? You can easily recreate that with a mural!
If you have a big budget, it would be especially fascinating to recreate the Weirwood heart tree in your party venue (shown in the photo below), either by constructing one or (as I earlier suggested) by using a mural.
Make sure to display the Stark sword, shield and banner in a special spot in the room.
The items above are all available online via HBO Store for the following prices: Eddard Stark’s Sword ($300), Stark Infantry Shield ($300), and Stark Banner ($24.99).
3. House Baratheon Of Dragonstone
This is perhaps the easiest to recreate among all the Game Of Thrones Houses, in terms of decor and general styling. A gloomy room with a large wooden table in the center is all it takes and you’re about 80% towards nailing the look. Of course, the table should have the map of the Seven Kingdoms.
4. Khaleesi’s Tent
Setting up a tent and dressing it up to resemble Khaleesi’s Tent will work for both outdoor and indoor venues. In terms of decor, it’s a lot cheaper, simpler and more casual.
If you want to have that “open tent” feel while being in an indoor venue, or if you’re concerned that you might be opening the tent to a scenery outside that isn’t very pleasing to the eyes, consider faking it with the use of (once again) a mural (as shown in the photo below).
Decorating Khaleesi’s Tent won’t be complete without displaying the three dragon eggs. These collectible dragon eggs in a wooden chest are available for $99.99 via the HBO Store.
You might also consider gettng the Baby Dragon Sculptures instead for $38.99 each, also at the HBO Store.
5. King’s Landing: The Purple Wedding
Recreating the look of King Joffrey and Margaery’s wedding is a fabulous idea if you want to hold your party outdoors, particularly out in a big garden or a yard.
Below is a playlist of the complete Game Of Thrones Soundtrack via Youtube. Its running time is almost four hours which should be long enough to cover three quarters of the party time. Just set your playlist to auto replay. The soundtrack is also available on iTunes and Spotify (you don’t have to be on a Premium Subscription on Spotify to access the playlist if you don’t mind commercial interruptions, but for the best experience, consider signing up one of them – at least until your party).
(Big Daddy’s Techie Tip)
For any of these options, though, keep in mind that how well the sound plays during your party is dependent upon how solid your internet connection is. Big Daddy tells me that demand for bandwidth is likely to be high on Halloween, so if your connection is such that sometimes your speed seems to suffer during times of high demand, it would be best to buy the soundtrack & download it to the hard drive on your machine. Very little could be more heartbreaking than to set up a party like this only to find that your music keeps skipping because of a connectivity problem!
OK. Moving on…
If your budget can afford it, I’d say that nothing can beat having live musicians to provide musical entertainment at a Game Of Thrones Halloween Party. If you go for that option, you need to book the musicians well in advance to give them time to prepare and rehearse your playlist.
The Mood Lighting
Lighting can really make all the difference in how closely you’re able to duplicate the GoT look. Illuminate your venue with lots and lots of candles of all sizes – from taper candles in candelabras to pillar candles in hurricane glass candle holders and votive candles galore! Use unscented candles.
Using flameless (LED) candles would also be a brilliant idea. It’s a lot safer and more economical. The flameless taper candles are available for $11.99 a pair, a set of five flameless pillar candles costs $24.99, and the flameless mini melted drip wax candles are available for $12.99 – all at Bed, Bath & Beyond.
The Medieval-Style Feast
Notice in the photos below that there are absolutely no round tables in a true Medieval-themed banquet. Seat your guests at a long wooden table (or tables) instead. No need to use a full table cloth either. A table runner made from an opulent fabric would suffice.
In lieu of a buffet table,you could create a lavish food spread on each of the long tables where your guests will be seated. Keep in mind that Medieval feasters have their meals served very much the same way we serve Chinese Lauriat today – with many dishes in sharing-sized portions served simultaneously (delivered to the table by service staff) to the guests, who then serve themselves.
Fortunately for those who plan on throwing a Game Of Thrones Halloween Party and want to be as authentic as possible when it comes to the menu, there exists a Game Of Thrones Official Cookbook available at the HBO Store for $35.00. Endorsed by writer George R. R. Martin himself, this cookbook offers over 100 recipes inspired by the fantasy novel/series.
Also, keep this in mind: Wine. Lots and lots of wine!
People during the Medieval times primarily used their fingers to eat with, so the term “cutlery” was considered a fancy word for spoons, forks and knives back then. Furthermore, dinner knives didn’t come around until about the 16th century so if there was a knife on the table, it was shared with the rest of the feasters. Of course, you can’t (and you shouldn’t) expect your guests to be willing to eat their meal with their bare hands at your party (unless they are really, really good friends of yours and they know how crazy you are, and they are probably as crazy as you are, and you made it clear to them well in advance that they will be feasting with their bare hands). So it’s totally acceptable to include cutlery in your table setting. When it comes to picking the right tableware and cutlery for your Game Of Thrones Halloween Party, think “rustic” and “vintage”. At the same time, carefully consider your venue. If you’re styling your venue to look like a Medieval tavern, or if you’re going to replicate Khaleesi’s Tent, get the most rustic-looking ceramic, hardwood or pewter plates that you can find.
However, if your party venue is supposed to resemble the Throne Room of King’s Landing, then vintage gold rimmed plates and goblets, with matching gold cutlery and plate chargers, would be most appropriate to use.
I particularly love these examples of rustic dinnerware from etsy.com (shown in the collage below):
…and this gold-rimmed dinnerware and gold cutlery, also from etsy.com (photo below):
You might also want to check out these beautiful Medieval-themed tableware and accents from Pottery Barn.
The Invitation & Other Printables
A Game Of Thrones Halloween Party won’t be complete without invitations and menu cards calligraphed (or printed out) in Old English font. Don’t forget to stamp the wax seal with the Sigil of your (chosen) House.
Remember to state the party theme and other important details clearly on your invitation, and to tell your guests to come dressed as their favorite Game Of Thrones character. For the benefit of your invited guests who don’t watch the show or not as big of a fan as you probably are (nobody’s perfect), just ask them to come in any Medieval costume. Give a special prize to the “Best Dressed”.
For a Game Of Thrones Halloween Party where guests will be required to come in costumes, invitations should be sent out a month in advance to give guests ample time to plan and get their outfit.
Entertainment & Activities
A party without some form of entertainment or interactive game is no fun at all, and you certainly don’t want to make all this effort in planning your Game Of Thrones Halloween Party just to bore your guests to death, do you? (Scare to death, yes. Bore to death, no.)
In keeping with the Medieval theme of a Game Of Thrones Halloween Party, here are a few suggestions for entertainment and activities:
For An Outdoor Party:
- Archery Contest – hire an archery instructor to give your willing participants a little bit of a crash course on the sport and then hold a friendly competition among them after the lessons
- Mock Jousting or Sword Fight – this is slightly more extravagant than any other form of entertainment that I could think of for a Medieval-themed party so I’d say, if you have the budget for it, hire some professional performers to do a mock jousting or sword fight
- Obstacle Course – think of a similar obstacle course that Lancelot (played by Richard Gere) had to navigate through in the movie First Knight. Kinda like a Medieval American Ninja Warrior – pretty awesome!
- Fire Dancers, Fire Breathers and Acrobats
For An Indoor Party:
- Jester – a professional stand-up comedian, preferably also a fan of GoT
- Belly Dancers
- Fortune Tellers/Soothsayers
- Game Of Thrones Trivia Game
- Photo Op Corner (or use the Iron Throne for this)
Now, you don’t need to go strictly Medieval in order to throw a Game Of Thrones Halloween Party. Alternatively, you can also just incorporate a few aspects of the novel/series into your party venue and decor, and it will still be effective. Below is a photo from one of the show’s own Season Premiere parties held in a hotel ballroom. The venue was designed to resemble the mysterious landscapes of Westeros and Essos. Use that as your inspiration.
To get the look, arrange your (round) tables around a center stage where your guests can watch all performances for the evening. Another great idea would be to play episodes of the Game Of Thrones TV series in the background using a projector and screen.
For a more festive look, hang all the House Banners from the ceiling or walls. Each banner is available for $24.99 via the HBO Store.
I hope you find the information I’ve provided here informative, giving you some interesting ideas to jump-start your own creativity and imagination. Have fun planning your Game Of Thrones Halloween Party! Happy Halloween!
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